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PSA: Your Super Bowl stream is going to have a delay – watch out for spoilers

We recommend avoiding social media during the big game.

super bowl lvi logo
Image: KnowTechie

This year, the Super Bowl is coming to you from SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. It’s a technological marvel and will be a beautiful backdrop for Super Bowl 56.

That said, streams of the Super Bown 2022 aren’t going to be in 4K resolution, and will likely lag behind the picture shown on network TV.

Expect a base five-second delay if you’re watching on cable TV because live TV always has a built-in delay to censor anything that shouldn’t go out in its timeslot.

If you’re upgrading your streaming subscription to watch the big game, you might be disappointed to find that the delay will be over 40 seconds, regardless of the streaming service.

Check out the graph below, created by Phenix. They might have a vested interest in making other solutions look bad, as they’re a tech company that builds the infrastructure for real-time video feeds, but the data still looks damning for streaming companies.

graph showing average delay in streaming services for super bowl 2021
Image: Phenix

The streaming services for CBS Sports, HuluTV, Yahoo Sports, Fubo TV, YouTube TV, and even the NFL’s own app all have a lag of over 40 seconds behind broadcast. Forty seconds! That’s an eternity in NFL terms, where the average time per play is just under 11 seconds.

Your internet connection doesn’t cause that delay, so upgrading your speed before the Super Bowl won’t make a difference.

It’s latency, or the time it takes the service to take the recorded live images, encode them, and send them to your device. Streaming services often add designed latency to ensure you get a clear picture, especially if you’re streaming at 4K.

If you manage to avoid social media during the big game, you might not notice the nearly-a-minute delay. The sports fans most affected here? Those who like to bet on sporting events.

Anyone who wants to micro-bet on specific plays isn’t going to want to stream the Super Bowl this year. In fact, there will even be a delay in your cable feed, anywhere between “7 and 15 seconds.”

Last year, with CBS being the broadcaster, it managed to reduce the lag to two seconds on the CBS Sports App. This year, it’s up to NBC, and we don’t expect that level of lag reduction for streams of the Super Bowl.

That means that in 2022, cable tv still reigns supreme (at least for sports fans).

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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